What's Going on With the Volcano?
September 19, 2014
The eruption of Kīlauea volcano continues from two locations. In the park, the summit eruption of Kīlauea within Halema'uma'u Crater continues to offer the best, safest, and easiest eruption viewing. The second location originates from the Pu'u 'Ō'ō vent in the remote east rift zone. Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō is 10 miles (16km) east of the Kīlauea summit. This area is highly unstable and dangerous and is not accessible by the public, (see "East Rift Zone Vents" below). No lava is currently flowing into or towards the ocean.
Fumes and glow from the summit vent – resulting from a lava lake deep within Halema'uma'u Crater – may be seen from the overlook at Jaggar Museum in the national park, and other vantage points along the Kīlauea caldera rim that provide views of Halema'uma'u Crater.
During the day a robust plume of volcanic gas is a constant and dramatic reminder of the molten rock churning in a lava lake within the crater. After sunset, Halema'uma'u continues to thrill visitors and park staff with a vivid glow that illuminates the clouds and plume as it billows into the night sky (weather permitting).
Park rangers are on duty at the Jaggar Museum to assist the many visitors drawn to Halema'uma'u, which has been erupting consistently within the crater since March 2008.
Halemaʻumaʻu web cam (opens in new window).
HOT LINES for Eruption Information
The June 27th lava flows from Pu'u 'O'o are outside the park and the flow front is presently more than 10 miles east of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park's eastern boundary. Currently threatening private property near the village of Pahoa, the flows are inaccessible by foot or by car and the area is closed to the public.
For current information about those lava flows call the authorities listed below:
USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory
County of Hawai'i Civil Defense
East rift zone vents: This small-scale map shows the June 27th flow in Kīlauea's East Rift Zone in relation to lower Puna. The area of the flow on September 15, 2014, at 2:00 PM is shown in pink, while advancement of the flow as mapped on September 17 at 3:45 PM is shown in red. The front of the active flow was 16.0 km (10 miles;straight-line distance) from the vent and had crossed the Wao Kele o Puna Forest Reserve boundary into the vacant northwest corner of Kaohe Homesteads. The flow front was advancing toward the northeast and was 3.76 km (2.3 miles) upslope from Pāhoa Village Road. The actual length of the flow, measured along the lava tube axis (so that bends in the flow are considered) is 18.2 km (11.3 miles). The blue lines show down-slope paths calculated from a 1983 digital elevation model (DEM). For an explanation of down-slope path calculations, see: http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2007/1264/. Down-slope path analysis is based on the assumption that the digital elevation model (DEM) perfectly represents the earth's surface. But, DEMs are not perfect, so the blue lines on this map indicate approximate flow path directions. The purple arrow shows a short term projection of flow direction based on the flow behavior over the past several days and the local topography. All older Puʻu ʻŌʻō lava flows (1983–2014) are shown in gray;the yellow line marks the lava tube.
This large-scale map shows the distal part of the June 27th flow in relation to nearby Puna communities. The black dots mark the flow front on specific dates. The latitude and longitude of the flow front on September 17 was 19.4737016 /-154.977834 (Decimal degrees;WGS84). The blue lines show down-slope paths calculated from a 1983 digital elevation model (DEM;for calculation details, see http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2007/1264/). Down-slope path analysis is based on the assumption that the digital elevation model (DEM) perfectly represents the earth's surface. But, DEMs are not perfect, so the blue lines on this map indicate approximate flow path directions. The purple arrow shows a short term projection of flow direction based on the flow behavior over the past several days and the local topography.
~Currently there is no lava visible from the County of Hawai‘i Kalapana lava viewing area~
The Kalapana public viewing area is outside of Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park on the other side of the flow fields and is managed by Hawaiʻi County. There is no fee to enter the viewing area. Currently the viewing area is open daily from 3:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. with the last vehicle allowed in at 8:00 p.m. To hear a recorded message of updated viewing conditions, call 808-961-8093.
Map to the Kalapana public viewing area (pdf-469KB)
County of Hawai'i Press Release - Kalapana Lava Viewing Area Remains Free - Feb 12,2013 (pdf-169KB)
The lava lakes in the Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater and Halemaʻumaʻu crater, as well as other views may be viewed on webcameras made available by the scientists at USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. Daily updates by staff that monitor Hawaiʻi's volcanoes provide visitors with the most recent observations on volcanic conditions.
If you are interested in more information about the Kīlauea east rift zone, we invite you to watch the video cast of USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geophysicist Mike Poland from our After Dark in the Park presentation on August 23, 2011. Mike discusses the volcanic history of the area. It's one hour in length and can be viewed here
Did You Know?
Polynesians from distant lands came to the shores of Hawai‘i over a thousand years ago. Sailing on large, double-hulled canoes, they navigated by using the position of the stars, the sun and the moon, by the movement of the waves and by the flight of the birds.